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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

The Month of Rajab and the Event of the Ascension of Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)

Rajab-ul-Murajjab is the seventh month of the Islamic year. Rajab is one of those four months which Allah the Almighty has declared as sacred months. “The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year) - so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth, of them four are sacred” (Surah At-Tauba, Verse: 36). The definition of these four months is not given in the holy Qur’an but the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has described them and they are: Dhul-Qaa’da, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharramul-Haraam and Rajabul-Murajjab. This implies that the Qur’an cannot be understood without Hadeeth of the Prophet (PBUH). These four months are called the sacred months. They are called so because in these months, everything that causes dispute, quarrel and bloodshed or disrupts peace, is prohibited. Although, quarrel and dispute is prohibited in others months of the year too, but these are specifically prohibited in these sacred months. The prohibition and sacredness of these months has been accepted in the previous Shari’ahs, in fact, these months were respected even in the age of ignorance (Jahiliyyah) also.

On the beginning of the month of Rajab, the Prophet (PBUH) used to pray in these words: “O Allah! Bless us with your bounties in the months of Rajab and Sha’baan and let us reach the holy month of Ramadan safely.” (Musnad Ahmed, Bazzar, Tabraani, Baihaqi) Therefore, we can pray the same Du’a or similar to its meanings on the beginning of the month of Rajab. We can infer from this prayer that the Prophet (PBUH) gave so much importance to this month that he used to start praying two months prior to the month of Ramadan in order to get the opportunity to worship in Ramadan. The month of Rajab was also blessed with the Prophet’s (PBUH) prayer, which proves the significance of this month.

We do not find any proof of the offering of any special prayer or fasting on any special day in the month of Rajab from the authentic Ahadeeth. This month is similar to other months in terms of prayer and fasting. But it is obligatory on every adult Muslim male and female to fast the whole month of Ramadan, and it is asked in many Ahadeeth to fast in abundance in the month of Sha’baan.

Whether the Holy Prophet (PBUH) performed any Umra in the month of Rajab or not? Scholars and historians have different opinions about it. There are proofs even from the righteous predecessors to offer Umra in this month. But there is no specific Hadeeth about the special reward to offer Umra in any month other than Ramadan.

The Event of Mairaj (Ascension) of the Prophet (Pbuh):

Historians and scholars have different opinions about the date and year of this event, one of them is that it occurred to Prophet (PBUH) at the age of fifty-one (51) years and five (5) months on 27th Rajab in the twelfth year of the prophethood, which is written by Qazi Muhammad Suleman Salman Mansur Puri (RHA) in his book “Muhre Nabuwwat” (The Seal of the Prophethood).

Israa means to travel during the night. The journey from the Masjide Haram or the Sacred Mosque (Makkah Mukarrama) to the Masjide Aqsa, which has been mentioned in Sura Bani Israeel: “Glory to (Allah) Who did take His Servant for Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque.” this is called Israa. And the Journey from here to the heavens is called “Mairaaj” (Ascension) which means to ascend. In the hadith, the word “عرج بی” is used which means “I was ascended up”.  Therefore, this event was named as Mairaaj (Ascension). This sacred journey is named as both Israa and Mairaaj. 

This event is described in the verses of Sura An-Najam too: “Then he approached and came closer. And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer. So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His Servant, (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey.”(Surah An-Najam, Verses: 8-10)

In the verses 13 -18 of Surah An-Najam, it is explained that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) witnessed many signs on this event: “For indeed he saw him at a second descent, near the Lote-tree beyond which none may pass, near it is the Garden of Abode, Behold, the Lote-tree was shrouded (in mystery unspeakable!) (His) sight never swerved, nor did it go wrong! For truly did he see, of the Signs of his Lord, the Greatest”.

It is proved by Ahadeethe Mutawatira, which means a great number of Companions, Tabi’een and Taba’ Tabi’een have narrated several Ahadeeth about the event of Mairaaj.

The Longest Journey in the History of Man:

It is proved from the Holy Qur’an and Ahadeethe Mutawatira that the entire journey of Israa and Mairaaj was not merely spiritual but a physical one too. It means that the journey of Prophet (PBUH) was not a dream, but a physical experience and a visual observation. It was a miracle that Allah completed such a long journey in just one part of the night. For Allah the Almighty, Who is the Creator of this whole universe, nothing is difficult, as He is Omnipotent. He does what He wills. He just intends and the thing comes into existence. The event of Mairaaj is a great, fortunate and unmatchable miracle of the human history and there is no such example in the history of men. The Creator of the Universe granted the highest status to His beloved Prophet (PBUH) by inviting him as His guest that no human or closest angel has ever been privileged.

The Purpose of the Event of Mairaaj:

One of the most concise and great objectives of the event of Mairaaj that has been described in the Holy Qur’an (Surah Bani Israeel), is that We (Allah) showed you (PBUH) some of Our signs. One of its important purposes was to give an exalted position to His Prophet (PBUH) which was never granted to any human or any closest angel and this position will never be granted to anyone else. thus one of its objectives is to give this message to the Muslim Ummah that prayer (Salaat) is such a great and tremendous obligation that it was declared obligatory not on the earth, but above the seven heavens at the exalted place during the night of Mairaaj. And its command was not conveyed to Prophet (PBUH) by Jibraeel (AS), but Allah Himself blessed this gift upon His Prophet (PBUH). Prayer (Salaat) is the greatest way to connect with Allah and to pray for one’s needs and wants. We communicate with Allah during the prayer.

A Brief Description of the Event of Mairaaj:

A brief description of this event is a gold saucer was brought to the Prophet (PBUH) which was filled with wisdom and faith. The chest of Prophet (PBUH) was opened and then it was washed with Aabe Zamzam, then his chest was filled with wisdom and faith. After that, a white-coloured animal “Burraq” was brought which was faster than electricity. Its height was bigger than a donkey and smaller than a mule. It placed its foot wherever it watched. Prophet (PBUH) was made to ride it and taken to Baitul Maqdas and there all the Prophets (AS) offered the prayer in the leadership (Imamat) of Prophet (PBUH). Then the Prophet (PBUH) was taken to the heavens. He met Adam (AS) on the first heaven,Essa (AS) and Yahya (AS) on the second heaven, Yusuf (AS) on the third heaven, Idrees (AS) on the fourth heaven, Haroon (AS) on the fifth heaven, Musa (AS) on the sixth heaven and Ibraheem (AS) on the seventh heaven. Then Baitul Mamur was brought in front of the Prophet (PBUH), where seventy thousand angels enter daily to worship Allah. They never come back to it.

Then the Prophet (PBUH) was taken to “Sidratul Muntaha” (The Lote-Tree). The Prophet (PBUH) saw that its leaves were as big as the ears of an elephant and its fruits were as huge as pots. When the Lote-tree was shrouded by specific things at the order of Allah, its condition was changed, no creation of Allah has the power to explain its beauty. At the foot of the Lote-tree, four canals were seen, two internal canals and two external canals. When the Prophet (PBUH) asked, Jibraeel (AS) explained that two the internal canals were the canals of Paradise and two external canals were the Euphrates and the Nile. (Euphrates is in Iraq and Nile is in Egypt).

The Obligation of Prayer:

At that time, Allah revealed about those things that were to be revealed and he made fifty prayers compulsory. On his return, the Prophet (PBUH) met Musa (AS). OnMusa’s (AS) suggestion, the Prophet (PBUH) presented himself a couple of times in the court of Allah and requested to reduce the number of prayers. Every time five prayers were reduced and a time came when only five prayers were left.  Musa (AS) insisted to reduce that as well but the Prophet (PBUH) said that “I feel embarrassed to ask for further reduction and I now accept this command of Allah.” On his reply, it was called out from Allah: “I do not change my order”. It means that I retained the order of my obligation and reduced its number from my followers and I reward ten times for one virtue. Therefore, there are five prayers to offer and their reward is of fifty prayers.

Two More Rewards Other Than The Obligation Of Prayers:

On this occasion, Holy Prophet (PBUH) was gifted with the obligation of prayer, which is the most important way to link a human with Allah. Due to the Prophet’s (PBUH) care for his Ummah and because of Allah’s blessings, rewards of fifty prayers would be bestowed upon the offering of five prayers.

1) The last verse of Sura Al-Baqara (from Aaman-ar-Rasulu till the end) was granted.

2) This law was also announced that all the sins of the followers of Prophet (PBUH) can be forgiven except Shirk (i.e. to associate someone with Allah). It means that the followers would not be remained forever in the Hell due to their major sins, but will be pardoned by their repentance or would be released after completing their punishments, though the unbelievers and polytheists would remain in the Hell forever. 

Facing Allah in Mairaaj:

It is disputed since old age whether the Prophet (PBUH) saw Allah during the event of Mairaaj or not and if he faced Him so whether this facing was visual or by heart, but it is enough for us to accept that this event is true, this event occurred in just one part of the night, and in the wakefulness of Prophet (PBUH) and it is indeed a great miracle of him.

The Denial of Quraish and the Imposition of Plea over Them:

During just one part of night occurred, the whole incident of Prophet’s (PBUH) travelling from Makkatul Mukarrama to Baitul Maqdas, praying with the Prophets (AS) there, then ascending to the heavens, meeting the Prophets (AS) and then attending the court of Allah, seeing the Paradise and the Hell, going back to Makkatul Mukarrama and then meeting a trading caravan of Quraish on return which was coming back from Syria. When the Holy Prophet (PBUH) described the event of Mairaaj in the morning, the Quraish were surprised and they denied this, and went to Abu Bakr Siddique (RA).  Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) said that if the Prophet (PBUH) had said this so he told the truth. The Quraish then asked that: “Do you also confirm this?”  Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) replied that “I confirm far stranger things than this that the Prophet (PBUH) received news from the heavens.” Due to this confirmation of the event of Mairaaj, Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) got the title of “Siddique” (The confirmer). After that, when the Quraish asked several questions from the Prophet (PBUH) about Baitul Maqdas, then Allah made Baitul Maqdas prominent for Prophet (PBUH). At that time, he was sitting in Hateem. The Quraish were asking questions continuously and the Prophet (PBUH) was replying to them.

Some Observations during The Journey Of Mairaaj:

During this important and great journey, along with the observation of the Paradise and the Hell, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was also shown the conditions of some sinners. I am writing some of them with the intention so that we would avoid these sins ourselves and ask others to avoid them too.

Some People Were Scratching Their Chests With Their Nails:

It is reported from Anas (RA) that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said that “During the night of Mairaaj, I came upon such people whose fingernails were made up of copper and they were scratching their faces and chests. When I asked Jibraeel (AS) that who are these people? He replied that these are the people who eat the flesh of other people (means they backbite about them) and think continuously about insulting them.”(Abu Dawood). 

The Misery of Usury-Eaters:

It is reported from Abu Huraira (RA) that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said that “During the night of Mairaaj, I came upon such people too, who had such big stomachs which were the size of houses of humans, and there were snakes inside their stomachs which could be seen from the outside in their stomachs. I asked Jibraeel (AS), who are these people? He replied that these are the people who eat the usury/interest.” (Mishkatul Masabeeh). 

Some People’s Heads Were Getting Crushed by Stones:

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) passed by such people too whose heads were getting crushed by stones. After getting crushed, the heads reformed to their original condition. So this process was continuous and was not getting finished. The Prophet (PBUH) asked: “Who are these people?” Jibraeel (AS) replied that these are the people who are lazy in offering their prayers.” (Anwarus Siraaj Fi Zikrial Israa walMairaaj by Shaikh Mufti Aashiq Ilahi) 

The Misery of People Who Do Not Pay Zakat:

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) passed by such people too whose private parts were covered with shreds from the front and behind and they graze like camels and ox and they are eating thorny bushes and stones of hell. The Prophet (PBUH) asked: “Who are these people?” Jibraeel (AS) replied that these are the people who did not pay Zakaat of their wealth.” (Anwarus Siraaj Fi Zikrial Israa wal Mairaaj by Shaikh Mufti Aashiq Ilahi).

People Who Eat Rotten Meat:

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) passed from such people too who had a dish of cooked meat and another dish of rotten and uncooked meat. These people were eating the rotten meat and were not eating the cooked meat. The Prophet (PBUH) asked: “Who are these people?” Jibraeel (AS) replied that these are the people who had halaal and pious wife but they spend their nights with women of loose morals and they stay with such women till morning. And these are the women who leave their halaal and pious husbands and spent their nights with men of loose character.” (Anwarus Siraaj Fi Zikrial Israa walMairaaj by Shaikh Mufti Aashiq Ilahi). 

What Is Sidratul Muntaha?

In the Ahadeeth, both words Sidratul Muntaha and Assidratul Muntaha are used. In the holy Qur’an, Sidratul Muntaha has been used. Sidra means berry and Muntaha means an extreme place. The reason to give this name to this tree is described in Sahih Muslim that Prophet (PBUH) said the orders revealed from above are gathered over here and the deeds of fellow beings which ascend from bottom to top, they stay over there, this means that the commands to be revealed first came there, and then revealed from there. And the deeds that go from the earth to the heavens stay there for some time and then ascend up.

Explanation:

There is no specific ibaadat/worshipping related to the event of Mairaaj of Prophet (PBUH) that is obligatory upon us to perform every year. The reason to describe this unmatchable event of history is that we can understand its details to some extent and we can keep ourselves away from such sins, the doers of which the Prophet (PBUH) saw during this journey and also their miserable end, which the Prophet (PBUH) later explained to his Ummah.

May Allah end our lives on faith and bless us with the success in both the worlds, Amen!

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (www.najeebqasmi.com)